Nine months after Hurricane Sandy barreled into Long Island, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has started to reimburse the Long Beach School District for the heavy damages incurred at West School.
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U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand announced Wednesday that FEMA has reimbursed the district $3.1 for the cost for repairs at the school hit hardest in Long Beach during the storm.
Superstorm Sandy hit Long Island’s coast, Long Beach and its city schools were seriously damaged and these funds will reimburse the
cost of repairs to West Elementary School,”
Schumer said in a statement about the federal funding.
During the October storm flood waters surged through the first floor of the two-story elementary school on Maryland Avenue, destroying computers, desks, books, teaching materials, as well as the heating and electrical systems that were stationed there.
The post-storm work at West School included relocating theses systems to the second floor, in order to avoid similar damages in future storms, as well as asbestos abatement and restoring bathrooms that were rebuilt as part of a district wide preservation plan.
“The boilers will be in a structure that is above the first floor where the main office is located,” Michael DeVito, the district’s chief operating officer, told Patch.
DeVito said that costs for repairs at the school are more than $6 million, and the district is still working with FEMA on the final reimbursement figure.
“We’re very grateful to FEMA for the money that we’re receiving,” he said. “It’s just part of it, not all of it. But we’re grateful to start the process. And we’ve been working hard to send in our expenditures and it’s great that we’re starting to receive the money now.”
After the storm, West School students and staff were displaced to East School. When Long Beach students returned to classrooms after the December break, West School students were transferred to Lindell School, where they remained for the rest of the school year.
DeVito said that repairs at West School are still in progress but the building will be reopen for classes on Sept. 9.